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‘Extra’ Turns to Web

Dec 9, 2007  •  Post A Comment

For more on the “Extra”-No Good TV partnership, click here.
In the latest of a rash of industry deals to import Web content to television, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s syndicated entertainment newsmagazine “Extra” has arranged to carry segments from the red-hot online network No Good TV twice a week.
The deal, which is strictly promotional for both parties, gives “Extra” a chance to lure younger Internet viewers to its show and affords No Good TV a chance to snare some of “Extra’s” female-centric audience for its online celebrity interviews, which average 10 million views a week across NGTV.com, YouTube and mobile phones.
The Extra-No Good TV partnership follows on the heels of NBC’s pickup last month of the Marshall Herskovitz-Ed Zwick Internet show “Quarterlife” as a midseason replacement for the broadcast network.
While TV networks have been combing the Web for talent since “Lazy Sunday” made everyone sit up and take notice of online video nearly two years ago, these two deals are emblematic of a new trend in the convergence of TV and the Internet—bringing online shows fully intact to TV.
Hellish Marriage
The Web tie-in also helps “Extra” combat online competitors. The 24-hour nature of the Internet has fueled the public’s limitless appetite for entertainment news and made possible hugely popular sites like TMZ.com, PerezHilton.com and TheSuperficial.com, which trade in rapid-fire celebrity updates and snarky commentary. Many young consumers rely solely on the Internet for their entertainment news fix, eschewing traditional outlets such as “Extra” and “Entertainment Tonight.”
“To us there is a giant untapped audience that gets all their entertainment news online,” said Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey, senior executive producer for “Extra.” The show, produced by Time Telepictures Productions and distributed by WBDTD, runs on more than 400 stations.
“We thought this was a perfect opportunity to bring young viewers in a way that none of the entertainment shows are doing,” she said.
Since its February launch, No Good TV has made its mark because of host Carrie Keagan’s unconventional style. Ms. Keagan doesn’t ask traditional questions. For instance, when Ms. Keagan interviewed the cast of “SuperBad,” she challenged them to a “dick-drawing contest,” in keeping with one of the elements in the film.
She also has a special knack for getting celebrities to drop the F-bomb. She’ll keep doing that, but “Extra” will bleep out the swear words.
The network is invited to every major press junket to gain access to stars, and also brings celebrities to its Beverly Hills studio, which Ms. Gregorisch-Dempsey refers to as a three-floor “den of iniquity,” complete with an open bar.
“It’s the perfect marriage made in hell,” said Ms. Gregorisch-Dempsey. “You need to think the Brady Bunch meets the Munsters. We look at Carrie as Barbara Walters on acid and Red Bull.”
Though the deal was finalized last week, the No Good TV segments started airing on “Extra” in November and have featured Borat, Guy Ritchie and Eva Longoria. When the pieces air, the on-screen “Extra” logo switches to a No Good TV logo.
TV Migration
TV has been a goal of the online network since launch, said Kourosh Taj, co-president and head of programming at No Good TV. He’s also in talks with TV networks about bringing a half-hour late-night version of No Good TV to television, although he emphasizes the Internet will remain the home base for No Good TV. “We can always put as much as we want and never tame it. We never have to censor the show online and the Internet will always be our main home,” he said.
As for Ms. Greogorisch-Dempsey’s characterization of the partnership as an unholy marriage, Mr. Taj added, “We are a cheeky devil. We are more of a saucy incarnation of Satan.”
Flipping No Good TV and “Quarterlife” from the Internet to the television works because good content is platform-agnostic, said Kaan Yigit, analyst with Solutions Research Group in Toronto. However, not all programming can carry over. “Quarterlife” works because it was conceived and shot as a one-hour drama and then simply cut into eight-minute slices for online consumption. As for No Good TV, the format of celebrity interviews is familiar for TV audiences, so it fits easily on-air.
Other examples of Web-to-TV migrations include “First Look New York,” a local show that launched Dec. 1 and runs Saturday evenings on NBC-owned WNBC-TV in New York. The show is produced by new-media production shop LX.TV and grew out of a like-minded Web property.
While more Internet content is making its way to TV, cross-pollination has been a long-standing fact of media life, said Morgan Hertzan, executive producer for LX.TV. “This has been going on since the beginning of recorded media. People get ideas and share stuff across platforms.”
This summer, NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution’s “Access Hollywood” partnered with Yahoo to supply exclusive entertainment stories for Yahoo’s omg! site.

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